Heart Disease and Heart Clearances in English Golden Retrievers
Heart problems are not nearly as common in Golden Retrievers as are other problems such as cancer and hip and elbow dysplasia. According to OFA, the organization that keeps health testing records in the U.S., less than 1% ( 0.3%) of Golden Retrievers tested are affected with heart problems (compared to almost 20% with hip dyspasia and over 60% getting cancer.) Click here to see the statistics on OFA's website.. Sub-aortic stenosis (SAS) is the heart problem that Golden Retriever breeders are concerned with. Sub-aortic stenosis is a narrowing of the aorta that carries blood away from the heart. For more information on SAS, see the article on the GRCA webite..
Breeders in Europe do not test hearts. Breeders there will tell you that heart problems are not an issue there. I've never known of an English Golden Retriever with a heart problem. If you will look back at the pedigrees of any imported Golden Retriever on K9data.com, you will see that only the dogs living in the U.S. have heart clearances. It is my belief that the reason for this is that it is not in the English lines as it is in the American ones. Overall, the criteria for health testing prior to breeding is higher in Europe than in the U.S. For example, In Europe, puppies from dogs that have not passed clearances for hips, elbows, and eyes cannot even be registered. All of the adults that we breed have heart clearances, but we might on occasion use a dog that is still in Europe that does not have a heart clearance.